Vienna, Austria – Meet Frimeco, a family enterprise founded by Josef Weber in 1995. For nearly three decades, Frimeco has been committed to producing and marketing high-quality materials for the global friction industry. With its cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Sarajevo and strategic sales offices in Vienna, New York, and Shanghai, Frimeco’s influence spans over 30 countries, each reaping the benefits of its diverse product portfolio and unparalleled customer service.
Now under the leadership of the next generation, Julia Kurz and Lukas Weber, Frimeco holds onto its foundational principles while welcoming a new era of ingenuity and progression. Julia brings a wealth of experience in consultancy and operations, and Lukas, an expertise in marketing and sales. United in their vision, they aspire to elevate Frimeco’s standing in the global market, relentlessly seeking avenues for growth and innovation.
Please give us a quick overview of yourselves, Frimeco, and the markets you serve.
Frimeco is a family-run company that was founded by Josef Weber in 1995. We have been producing and marketing high-quality materials for the international friction industry for the past nearly 30 years. We have our manufacturing facility in Sarajevo (BiH) and sales offices in Vienna (AT), New York (USA), and Shanghai (CN). Each office serves customers in the relevant region delivering our products and services to more than 30 countries worldwide.
Julia entered the family business two years ago, and her focus is specifically on the US market as well as operations. She lived in London for the past seven years, where she worked as a Consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and most recently as the COO of a global Tech Startup.
Lukas is the newest addition to the family business, with a focus on marketing and sales. This is also where his background lies, as he previously worked for a big Austrian technology company in the automotive industry.
Frimeco is a family-run company and there has been a generational change in the past year. How has this impacted Frimeco’s way of operating and future plans?
Both of us joined the company that our dad founded in the past two years and we are very proud to be a part of this great business. We have been met with a lot of enthusiasm and openness from our teams, partners and most importantly customers. Even though we are now fully engrained in the business and have our own areas of operating, our dad and founder Josef is still very much involved in the business. We very much appreciate the support he has been giving us and believe that together we are a stronger team.
Together we are planning to move the company to the next level in the coming few years. We have many plans in terms of further internationalization of the company as well as spreading into different industry arms that show great potential. We have started to work with our teams on these next steps and are very excited and optimistic about what the future holds for Frimeco.
What are the toughest challenges facing your organization and where do you see the industry heading?
We are always dealing with different challenges, but I think the biggest ones, that are probably impacting many companies at the moment, are the global economic and geopolitical situation that leads to a lot of uncertainty as well as the shortage in skilled workers that make it very difficult to assemble the right teams. However, we thrive on challenges and are determined to find solutions as they arise.
We believe that e-mobility as well as regulations around it will dominate conversations in the industry for the coming years. The change to electric vehicles as well as autonomous cars will have an impact on the industry and has already led many producers to look into product alternatives and being creative with new technologies. We believe that these changes will lead to great new innovations that will help the industry move forward.
You seem to have a strong footing in the different geographical markets. Are there any specific plans in the future?
Our company is present in all major automotive countries, meaning from Europe, North- and South America, to Middle East and Asia. Our plant in Bosnia has an optimal location to serve all markets. Nevertheless, we are always trying to observe the market and evolve. Therefore, it could be possible for us to open a new production plant on another continent like North America.
What are your main products and what are you focusing on developing at the moment?
In general we have three different product groups in our portfolio. We offer metal fibers, metal and complex sulfides and cashew products. In our plant in Bosnia, we are producing steel fibers and metal and complex sulfides. Other metal fibers, as for example brass or copper fibers are produced from our partner company Solana. All cashew products come from our long-standing partner Resibras in Portugal and Brazil.
Together with our partners we constantly push the limits in developing new products. One of our main principles is to have a continual exchange with our customers and to work together closely in order to achieve goals and strengthen themselves and us for the future.
What are the main reasons why customers like to work with you?
One of the main reasons why customers like to work with us is that we follow our family business principles. That means, we practice open and honest communication, collaborate very closely and build on high loyalty to ensure long-lasting relationships. Another important point is that due to our internal setup, we can act very fast and flexible and are therefore able to solve challenges within a short time period.
How can interested parties get in touch with you?
Now that the industry is back at traveling, we are happy to meet current and potential customers at the different fairs. We will be present at the CFSMA beginning of June in China, as well as the EuroBrake in Barcelona in September and the SAE Show in Texas in November. Other than that, interested parties can check out our website or directly get in touch with us via email. We look forward to interesting conversations and potential new collaborations.